Greece has left the European bailout fund again. Now SMEs that have somehow managed over the past few difficult years once again see concrete opportunities to benefit from the country’s ideal geostrategic location. We spoke to one such logistician.

Mr Poutos, Greece has sent out some rather encouraging signals of late. What has your reaction been?

Ever since our founding in 2007 we’ve banked on the investment card, have created networks with our partners, established our presence in many stations worldwide and introduced new services.

What is the latest news in this context?

In August we launched a new service for road transport needs between Greece and the member states of the European Union. Thanks to the daily departures this option is faster than the regular weekly departures traditionally offered by LTL groupage solutions and is less expensive than express or airfreight options.

“Greece remains attractive for investors.” Mr. Pavlos Poutos

Marinair, as your name implies, has historically specialised in combined transport solutions. How has this approach been performing recently?

The needs of many a firm operating in the Greek market gave us the opportunity to organise and market services such as this. It simultaneously allowed us to connect the rest of Europe and Greece through new ways.

Also to points beyond?

Yes. We’ve been running a sea-rail service for imports from the Far East via Greece into the rest of Europe since 2017. We offer our customers this on an efficient basis, thanks to transhipment in the maritime gateway of Piraeus and rather good rail connections from Greece to the rest of the continent. If you compare this solution’s transit times with pure maritime transport between eastern Asia and Europe, you’ll find that this combination of two modes of transport shortens it by around a third.

In Asia, Marinair is present in India and China, including Hong Kong. What happened to your plans for a station in the Netherlands? (See also page 41 of ITJ 39-40/2017.)

We were happy to implement our plan of establishing a new office in Amsterdam at the beginning of this year. Our activities in this trade enable us to serve demand from Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany even better.

What is your personal assessment concerning the development of Greece and its logistics sector, Mr Poutos?

Thanks to its strategically-strong position, Greece always remained attractive for investors. Chinese investment in the port of Piraeus came first; now the hub in Thessaloniki is set to follow. The aviation sector saw Fraport’s investment in 14 regional airports. My assessment concurs with the EU’s – the Greek economy seems to be progressing steadily. I believe there is plenty of promise for better days for all.

Interview: Andreas Haug
Source: International Transport Journal (Issue 39-40 2018)

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